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2015 News Archives

July 29, 2015
A team of researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine, including Amita Sehgal, PhD, a professor of Neuroscience and director of the Chronobiology Program, and Matthew Kayser, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Psychiatry, used fruitflies to probe deeper into the cellular and molecular mechanisms that govern aggression and sleep.
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July 24, 2015
Michael Blank, PhD, an associate professor in Psychiatry and co-director of the Penn Mental Health AIDS Research Center, was quoted in a Reuters Health story on a new study that found increased risks going both ways between diagnoses of HIV and schizophrenia.
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July 22, 2015
Penn Medicine hospitals have once again been ranked among the top 10 hospitals in the nation, and #1 in Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia metro area by U.S. News & World Report, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Business Journal.
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Click for article - Philadelphia Inquirer
Click for article - Philadelphia Business Journal


July 22, 2015
Brain imaging with single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) can distinguish post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from traumatic brain injury (TBI) with high sensitivity, new research shows. Jacob Dubroff, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of radiology is quoted in the Medscape article.
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July 21, 2015
Raquel Gur, MD, PhD, director of Neuropsychiatry Section in the department of Psychiatry served as a witness for the defense in the case of James Holmes, who carried out the deadly 2012 shooting in a Colorado movie theater.
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July 20, 2015
David F. Dinges, PhD, director of the Unit for Experimental Psychiatry and chief of the division of Sleep and Chronobiology, was quoted in a Freakonomics story which mentioned numerous sleep trials at Penn Medicine that delved into sleep deprivation and physical health and cognitive performance.
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July 17, 2015
Manzar Ashtari, PhD, director of CNS Imaging at the Center for Advanced Retinal and Ocular Therapeutics, and Jean Bennett, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Advanced Retinal and Ocular Therapeutics, both in the department of Ophthalmology, were quoted in Voice of America and New Scientist about their study that found that sight restoration for LCA patients leads to strengthening of visual pathways in the brain.
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Click for article - New Scientist
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July 16, 2015
John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD, director, Penn Institute on Aging and Virginia M.-Y. Lee, PhD, director, Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, were both featured in a 6ABC segment in the "Philly Leading the Way" series describing their new research on fighting Alzheimer's disease.
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July 16, 2015
Michael E. Thase, MD, director, Mood and Anxiety Program, was quoted in a Medscape article reporting that the FDA has approved brexpiprazole for adults with schizophrenia and as an adjunctive therapy to antidepressant medication in adults with major depressive disorder (MDD).
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July 10, 2015
A new meta-analysis provides further evidence supporting cognitive-behavior therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) when the difficulty sleeping occurs with another medical or psychiatric condition, according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The Medscape article references an accompanying editorial authored by Michael A. Grandner, PhD, instructor in Psychiatry and member of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology, and Michael L. Perlis, PhD, director of the Penn Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program.
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June 29, 2015
Prevention magazine reports on research in the Journal of Neuroscience from Sigrid Veasey, MD, an associate professor of Medicine and a member of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology, and colleagues that found chronic sleep loss may irreversibly damage brain cells.
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June 24, 2015
Business Standard reported on a study, led by Tracy Bale, PhD, professor of Neuroscience in Psychiatry, which shows that stress during the first trimester of pregnancy alters the population of microbes living in a mother's vagina and impact the babies' gut microbiome and brain development.
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June 22, 2015
Surgical and nonsurgical options for lumbar spinal stenosis may offer similar long-term benefits for patients, but results of a recently published randomized trial, led by William C. Welch, MD, chair of Neurosurgery at Pennsylvania Hospital, showed health care providers should determine the best course of treatment based on potential risks and evidence for each patient.
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June 17, 2015
Frances Jensen, MD, chair of the department of Neurology was a guest on WHYY Radio's "Radio Times," discussing the inner-workings of the teen brain, the transition into adulthood, and new science that is helping experts better understand brain development. The Huffington Post also ran a Q&A with Jensen.
Click for article - WHYY Radio
Click for article - Huffington Post


June 17, 2015
Research led by Tracy Bale, PhD, professor of Neuroscience in Psychiatry, found that prenatal stress alters the mother’s vaginal microbiome, affecting newborn brain development.
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June 17, 2015
Michael Platt, whose research focuses on how the brain makes decisions, has been named the newest PIK Professor. He will hold appointments in the Department of Neuroscience in the Perelman School of Medicine, the Department of Psychology in the School of Arts & Sciences and the Department of Marketing in the Wharton School. 
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June 16, 2015
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on three new Penn Medicine studies presented at the annual meeting of Associated Professional Sleep Societies, known as SLEEP. Two studies suggest sleep deprivation and food are a bad combination for your brain and your waistline and a third Penn study examined the relationship between different types of exercise and sleep quality.
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June 11, 2015
According to a study led by C. Neill Epperson, MD, professor of Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the Penn Center for Women’s Behavioral Wellness, women experiencing difficulty with time management, attention, organization, memory, and problem solving – often referred to as executive functions – related to menopause may find improvement with a drug already being used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
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June 8, 2015
Caryn Lerman, PhD, a professor of Psychiatry and deputy director of Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, was featured in a Philadelphia Inquirer story talking about her ongoing study investigating brain games, backed by a $2 million National Cancer Institute grant.
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June 8, 2015
Donald M. O'Rourke, MD, an associate professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Human Brain Tissue Bank, spoke with the Delaware News Journal about brain cancer.
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June 5, 2015
A new Penn study, led by Hengyi Rao, PhD, an assistant professor of Cognitive Neuroimaging, investigated whether any relationship exists between gray matter volume and moral development, using students in the Wharton MBA program as study subjects. This research was covered by MedicalDaily.com, HealthDay News, Medical News Today and the Indo-Asian News Service.
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June 5, 2015
Eating less late at night may help curb the concentration and alertness deficits that accompany sleep deprivation, according to results of a new study from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine, including David F. Dinges, PhD, Namni Goel, PhD, and Andrea Spaeth, PhD.
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June 4, 2015
Individuals with a higher level of moral reasoning skills showed increased gray matter in the areas of the brain implicated in complex social behavior, decision making, and conflict processing as compared to subjects at a lower level of moral reasoning, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with a researcher from Charité Universitätsmediz in Berlin, Germany.
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June 3, 2015
Douglas Smith, MD, a professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, spoke with NBCNews.com. about brain injury recovery.
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June 2, 2015
M. Sean Grady, MD, a professor and chair of Neurosurgery, and Donald O'Rourke, MD, an associate professor of Neurosurgery, were interviewed on 6ABC about glioblastoma, the most common and deadly type of brain cancer.
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May 20, 2015
Roy Hamilton, MD, assistant professor of Neurology, commented on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment in a New York Times article looking at the common tests clinics use when examining patients for memory loss that could lead to a clinical diagnosis.
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May 12, 2015
Frances Jensen, MD, chair of Neurology, appeared on Morning Joe to discuss teenagers and what makes them act the way that they do. Dr. Jensen also spoke about the teenage brain in a blog post feature on GettingSmart.com and in the Huffington Post.
Click for article - Morning Joe
Click for article - Huffington Post


May 5, 2015
The Globe and Mail mentioned that Doug Smith, MD, a professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, is examining what breaks inside of axons, the long nerve fibres that carry signals between nerves and the brain, when they’re rapidly stretched.
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April 30, 2015
In a Philadelphia Inquirer opinion piece about sending teenagers to college, Frances Jensen, MD, chair of Neurology, explained that an 18-year-old brain is very much a work in progress, and the progress to be made over the four years of a college career is some of the most important in a person’s life.
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April 28, 2015
Douglas Smith, MD, professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, was interviewed in a TODAY Health article on research suggesting that women may have a harder time recovering from concussion.
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April 27, 2015
Scott Kasner, MD, MSCE, professor of Neurology and director of Penn's stroke center, was interviewed in a Philadelphia Inquirer article about the latest technology in stroke care.
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April 27, 2015
Ruben Gur, PhD
, professor of Neuropsychology and director of the Brain Behavior Lab, discussed cutting-edge research on the brain development of young adults with the Boston Herald.
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April 24, 2015
M. Sean Grady, MD, chair of Neurosurgery commented to Yahoo! Health on the case of a California woman who was found to have a teratoma, an unusual brain tumor made of cysts that contain one or more of the three layers of cells found in a developing baby.
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April 24, 2015
Frances Jensen, MD, chair of Neurology, was interviewed by the Washington Post about unlocking the mysteries of the teenage brain.
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April 24, 2015
The federal government has forced two UCLA researchers to stop making promotional claims about an experimental brain scan they hope to commercialize as a test for Alzheimer’s disease, long-term damage from traumatic brain injuries and other neurological conditions. Douglas Smith, MD, director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair and a traumatic brain injury researcher, spoke with the Los Angeles Times about the need to vet these tests.
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April 23, 2015
Impaired language skills associated with primary progressive aphasia, previously thought to be irreversible, appeared to improve with transcranial direct stimulation, findings from a small Penn Medicine study indicate.
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April 23, 2015
Leo McCluskey, MD, medical director of Penn ALS Association Center was quoted in a MedPage article reporting that neurologists are backing the FDA's call for a privately held biotechnology company to release all of its data on an investigational drug for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
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April 23, 2015
Doctors, lawyers and other “high level” professionals may have a built-in survival edge if they’re diagnosed with the disease frontotemporal dementia (FTD), according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
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April 22, 2015
Anjan Chatterjee, MD, chair of Neurology at PAH, wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times about the “real worries” regarding an increase in the use of drugs in the workplace to help people energize, focus and limit their need for sleep.
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April 22, 2015
A pair of studies from the Perelman School of Medicine, led by Nabila Dahodwala, MD, an assistant professor of Neurology, demonstrate a correlation between diabetes severity and parkinsonism, or parkinsonian tremors; and examine the caregiving differences between men and women with PD.
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April 22, 2015
Anjan Chatterjee, MD, chair of Neurology at PAH, was quoted in a New York Times report on the increasing abuse of ADHD medications in the workplace.
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April 21, 2015
In a podcast for the American Academy of Neurology's weekly series interviewing experts from highlighted articles in Neurology, Corey McMillan, PhD, research assistant professor of Neurology in Penn's Frontotemporal Degeneration Center was interviewed about his recent paper with Edward Lee, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, on how C90orf72 promoter hypermethylation is neuroprotective.
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April 21, 2015
Frances Jensen, MD
, chair of Neurology, talked to Fox News' "America's News Headquarters" about her new book, "The Teenage Brain," in which she looks at the science behind the adolescent brain.
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April 17, 2015
Yvette Sheline, MD, director of the Center for Neuromodulation in Depression and Stress, was interviewed by WHYY radio about an ongoing study suggesting that there may be a connection between depression and inflammation in the peripheral blood and the brain.
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April 17, 2015
In a story in Parents magazine on childhood anxiety, Rinad Beidas, PhD, assistant professor of Psychology in the department of Psychiatry, tells the magazine, "It's unlikely that a child will outgrow an anxiety disorder. When it's left untreated, the child will have a higher risk of substance abuse later."
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April 8, 2015
WHYY radio reports that only about half of those with depression respond to anti-depressant medications. Researchers, led by Yvette Sheline, MD, director of the Center for Neuromodulation in Depression and Stress, are trying to improve those odds by better understanding the mechanisms that cause this illness.
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April 6, 2015
The Daily Pennsylvanian reports on work by Mathias Basner, MD, PhD, MSc, assistant professor of sleep and chronobiology in Psychiatry, David F. Dinges, PhD, professor and chief, division of Sleep and Chronobiology, department of Psychiatry, and Ruben Gur, PhD, professor of Psychology, director of Neuropsychology, to study how cognition is affected by prolonged spaceflight.
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April 3, 2015
Edward Lee, PhD, assistant professor of Neuropathology in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, spoke with ALZForum about research suggesting that in some people who carry a repeat expansion in the C9ORF72 gene, methylation of the gene promoter shuts down its transcription. This offers a modicum of protection against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
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April 1, 2015
In an opinion piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Frances E. Jensen, MD, chair of Neurosurgery, offers her thoughts on the recent story about 12 college students who had been hospitalized after taking Molly - also known as ecstasy or MDMA.
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April 1, 2015
Martha Farah, PhD, director of the Center for Neuroscience and Society, spoke with Nature.com about research showing the impact of poverty on developing brains.
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March 31, 2015
Three caregivers from the Penn Memory Center were profiled in a story on the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on the patient’s family and caregivers.
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March 31, 2015
Yvette Sheline, MD, professor of Psychiatry and Neurology, talked to HealthDay News about research suggesting that a single serving of leafy green vegetables each day may help keep dementia away.
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March 23, 2015
Astronaut Scott Kelly is about to take off for the International Space Station. While he is in space, Penn Medicine researchers, including Mathias Basner, MD, PhD, MSc, Ruben Gur, PhD, and David F. Dinges, PhD, will compare his mental performance with that of his identical twin, Mark, who will stay behind on Earth.
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March 23, 2015
Penn Medicine researchers, led by Corey McMillan, PhD, have discovered that hypermethylation - the epigenetic ability to turn down or turn off a bad gene implicated in 10 to 30 percent of patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Frontotemporal Degeneration (FTD) - serves as a protective barrier inhibiting the development of these diseases.
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March 17, 2015
M. Sean Grady, MD, chair of Neurosurgery, and Doug Smith, MD, director the the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, were interviewed by CBS3 and KYW Newsradio, respectively, about traumatic brain injury.
Click for article - CBS3
Click for article - KYW


March 17, 2015
6ABC reports that former Flyer Ed "Boxcar" Hospodor participated in a panel discussion on brain injury and concussion with other former professional athletes at Penn Medicine's Mind Your Brain symposium for brain injury survivors and caregivers.
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March 13, 2015
Yvette Sheline, MD, professor of psychiatry, radiology and neurology, was interviewed by NBCNews about the importance of encouraging African Americans and Hispanics to sign up for clinical trials through the Brain Health Registry.
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March 13, 2015
NASA Space Station Live interviewed Mathias Basner, MD, PhD, MSc, assistant professor of sleep and chronobiology in Psychiatry, on his work on a study looking at how spaceflight can impact cognitive performance in astronauts.
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March 12, 2015
A Philadelphia Inquirer story on the recent death of a Delaware County 8th grader quoted Anthony Rostain, MD, MA, professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics. Rostain told the Inquirer, teenagers can easily be "overwhelmed by negative emotions" and have trouble seeing the future when the present looks bleak.
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March 11, 2015
The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the 18th year in a row. According to the annual medical school survey in U.S. News & World Report's "Best Graduate Schools" report, Penn Medicine is ranked #5 in the country.
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March 6, 2015
Many Americans would not have quick access to the best healthcare options during a stroke, even under the most ideal circumstances, according to a new, hypothetical computer model, led by Michael Mullen, MD, assistant professor of Neurology.
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March 5, 2015
Courtney Benjamin Wolk, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher, spoke to PsychCentral about research suggesting that when Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is successful in reducing childhood anxiety, it also conveys considerable benefits years after the treatment.
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March 5, 2015
Yvette Sheline, MD, professor of Psychiatry, Radiology and Neurology, commented in a HealthDay article about research suggesting brain plaque buildup, long linked to the onset of Alzheimer's disease, has been identified in the brains of men and women as young as 20.
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March 3, 2015
Immune cells engineered to attack brain cancer have been found to be safe and effective in a study by Marcela Maus, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Hematology/Oncology, M. Sean Grady, MD, the Charles Harrison Frazier Professor and chair of the department of Neurosurgery, and Donald M. O’Rourke, MD, associate professor of Neurosurgery.
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February 26, 2015
Hengyi Rao, PhD, assistant professor of Cognitive Neuroimaging in Neurology and Psychiatry within the division of Sleep and Chronobiology, talked to HealthDay about research suggesting that skipping a single night of sleep leads to a shift in brain activity that seems to spark a desire to consume more fat the following day.
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February 25, 2015
A medical mystery in the Washington Post featured a Penn patient suffering from voice problems who ended up being diagnosed with Eagle syndrome by John Y.K. Lee, MD, an assistant professor of Neurosurgery.
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February 23, 2015
Frances Jensen, MD, chair of the department of Neurology, authored an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer highlighting the biological underpinnings of the teenage behavior that may seem, to parents and other adults, so erratic.
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February 17, 2015
A new multi-institution study, led by Rinad Beidas, PhD, assistant professor of Psychology in the department of Psychiatry, has found that an organization’s culture and climate are better predictors of the use of evidence-based practices than an individual therapist’s characteristics in the treatment of children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders.
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February 16, 2015
A PNAS paper on sleep and metabolism from the labs of Amita Sehgal, PhD, a professor of Neuroscience and Aalim M. Weljie, PhD, a research assistant professor of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics, was highlighted in articles in Science News and The Scientist.
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February 12, 2015
A new Penn Medicine study led by Hengyi Rao, PhD, a research assistant professor of Cognitive Neuroimaging in Neurology and Psychiatry, found that not only do we consume more food following a night of total sleep deprivation, but we also we consume more fat and less carbohydrates and a region of the brain known as the salience network is what may lead us to eat more fat.
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February 11, 2015
The NIH Director's blog mentions the seizure prediction and detection contest organized by Penn, building on research from Penn physicians, and supported by American Epilepsy Society, NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and the Epilepsy Foundation.
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February 11, 2015
In a Philadelphia Inquirer article about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Michael Thase, MD, professor of Psychiatry, cautions against evening light therapy.
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February 9, 2015
John Dani, PhD, chair of the department of Neurosciences and director of the Mahoney Institute of Neurosciences, comments on PBS39's "Focus," in a segment explaining current brain research and health, including Alzheimer's disease.
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February 3, 2015
Frances Jensen, MD, professor and chair of Neurology, recently talked to C-SPAN about the study of the human brain, the development of adolescents, and the reasons behind many of the behaviors parents and others see during the teenage years.
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February 2, 2015
Doug Smith, MD, professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, was interviewed by CBS3 and NBC News about concussions and traumatic brain injury.
Click for article - CBS3
Click for article -NBC News


January 30, 2015
Anthony Rostain, MD, professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, spoke with Medscape about research suggesting developmental changes in symptom severity and adaptive functioning differ significantly among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
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January 30, 2015
M. Sean Grady, MD, professor and chair of the department of Neurosurgery talked with HealthDay about a new eye-tracking method that might help determine the severity of concussions.
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January 30, 2015
Edna Foa, PhD
, director of the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety, was interviewed by the Washington Post about PTSD as the trial of the shooter who took the life of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, approaches.
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January 29, 2015
Frances Jensen, MD, professor and chair of Neurology, spoke with Fresh Air's Terry Gross, about the teenage brain and why teens have trouble controlling impulses.
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January 28, 2015
Anjan Chatterjee, MD
, chair of Neurology at Pennsylvania Hospital, spoke with the magazine Nautilus in an article describing a subset of Parkinson’s disease patients that experience an urgent onset of creativity, thought to be the result of Parkinson’s medications that activate the dopamine pathways in the brain.
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January 26, 2015
An article in Elle magazine talked about the use of prolonged exposure therapy, developed by Edna Foa, PhD, professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry and director of the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety, for use in patients with PTSD resulting from rape or military service.
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January 23, 2015
Felicia Greenfield, LCSW, associate director for clinical and research operations at the Penn Memory Center, and Anjan Chatterjee, MD, professor of neurology, were quoted in a PhillyVoice article about art therapy for Alzheimer's patients.
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January 23, 2015
Doug Smith, MD, professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, and Robert Siman, PhD, research professor of Neurosurgery, spoke with WHYY Radio about a new blood test that could indicate long-term severity of concussions.
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January 22, 2015
Anjan Chatterjee, MD, professor of neurology and chief of neurology at Pennsylvania Hospital, was interviewed by the Cognitive Neuroscience Society about the neuroscience of aesthetics and art.
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January 15, 2015
Steven Arnold, MD, director of the Penn Memory Center, and Jason Karlawish, MD, professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Health Policy, were quoted in a Philadelphia Inquirer article about Alzeheimer's research volunteers.
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January 14, 2015
Frances Jensen, MD, chair of Neurology, was interviewed by CBC radio regarding her new book, The Teenage Brain.
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January 13, 2015
Aaron Beck, MD, emeritus professor of Psychiatry, was on the NPR podcast, Invisibilia. Beck discussed the tenets of cognitive behavior therapy, a revolutionary form of therapy he discovered, based on the idea that a person's thoughts or a certain subsets thereof shouldn't be taken so seriously.
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January 13, 2015
Tracy Bale, PhD, a professor of neuroscience in psychiatry, discussed the microbiome-brain connection in a LiveScience.com article.
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January 8, 2015
NPR’s All Things Considered reported on a study from Caryn Lerman, PhD, a professor of Psychiatry and deputy director of the Abramson Cancer Center, that found measuring neural activity in smokers’ brains helped predict who would successfully quit or fail more than 80 percent of the time.
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January 6, 2015
Felicia Greenfield, LCSW, associate director of the Penn Memory Center, was quoted in a Philadelphia Tribune article about the Penn Memory Center's efforts to combat Alzheimer’s disease in the African-American community.
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January 5, 2015
Martha Farah, PhD, director of the Center for Neuroscience & Society, spoke with the New York Times about facial analysis and its applications in sports.
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